Auto insurance premiums spike in South Carolina as crashes increase and repair


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Auto insurance premiums spike in South Carolina as crashes increase and repair bills swell

Increase in health insurance premiums

As more sensors and cameras become part of a vehicle’s makeup, repairs can become more costly. Paint and body prepper William Smithey repairs a front bumper at Rick Hendricks BMW on Tuesday. Wade Spees/Staff

Traffic fills Interstate 526 toward Westmoreland Bridge over the Ashley River on Tuesday. Congestion across the country has gotten worse as the economy has improved and more people have gotten back to work. In South Carolina, experts say that’s led to more wrecks — and higher insurance premiums. Wade Spees/Staff

South Carolina drivers are getting in more wrecks, the damage is getting more expensive to repair, and the state’s auto insurers are starting to pass along the bill.

In short, that’s the confluence of factors causing insurance premiums in the Palmetto State to spike after creeping up gradually throughout the economic recovery.

Auto premiums are jumping across the country thanks to a robust economy that’s put more drivers on the road and an influx of new technology that’s made cars more expensive to fix. And the phenomenon appears to be especially pronounced in South Carolina, where a long stretch of better-than-average job growth, a fast-growing population and a high rate of crashes have pinched insurers’ profits.

The state’s 10 largest auto insurers increased premiums an average of 8.9 percent last year, according to the S.C. Department of Insurance, more than double the rate of change they recorded in 2015. That came as the gap between what carriers take in and what they pay out widened: In 2015, insurers paid about $1.11 in claims for every dollar they collected in premiums.

“Our loss experience has not been favorable for several years,” said Roszell Gadson, a spokesman for State Farm, the largest auto insurer in South Carolina. The company raised premiums an average of roughly 12 percent “to better cover expected claims costs,” Gadson said in an email.

The pace of premium increases has sped up in South Carolina in recent years as auto insurers pay out to cover more wrecks and more expensive repairs.

And while those increases are still filtering through renewal notices, insurance experts say there’s little indication that the underlying factors — costlier damage and increasingly frequent crashes — have let up. In each case, the strengthening economy is likely a factor.

For one thing, as Americans’ finances improve and they buy new cars, they’re increasingly opting for advanced safety features that cram cameras, sensors and other costly technological features into parts that were once inexpensive, like bumpers and side mirrors.

“If you tap someone’s bumper now, you’ve taken out cameras and sensors,” said Ray Farmer, the director of the state Department of Insurance.

New technology like blind-spot monitors and lane assistance might help prevent some accidents, but the benefits haven’t been fully realized, said Robert Hartwig, a University of South Carolina professor who until last year ran the Insurance Information Institute.

The average vehicle on American roads is nearly 12 years old, so while new features might help in some cases, they’re not commonplace enough to prevent most wrecks. A car with automatic braking might help prevent a collision, for instance, but if it’s rear-ended by a pick-up truck without it, that feature won’t do much good — and the repairs will be expensive.

“We are at a point right now where the technologies are driving up the cost and are having, on the margins, some favorable impacts in terms of reducing the number of accidents,” Hartwig said. “But those favorable impacts are swamped by the fact that overall in the United States, everybody is driving more.”

And by all accounts, the number of wrecks in South Carolina and across the country is rising.

Opinions vary about what’s causing the increase, and experts say it’s likely a combination of factors, each of them plain enough to see in rush hour traffic: Congestion’s getting worse, smartphones are distracting drivers and people are taking to the road more often.

The number of crashes in South Carolina topped 140,000 last year, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety. Slightly more than a quarter of the wrecks caused injuries.

That’s not surprising in a strong labor market, since crashes tend to be more frequent when the economy is good. Low unemployment means more commuters headed to work, more capacity to shop and more opportunity to take vacations. More cars on the road, meantime, leads to more congestion and collisions.

All told, nearly 1,000 people were killed on the road across the state — an unusually high toll for a state this size. The 975 deaths last year essentially matched the number of fatalities recorded in 2015, when the state the most deaths per mile driven in the country.

So far, this year is on track to be deadlier still. As of Sunday night, 432 people had died on the state’s highways, according to the Department of Public Safety. That was an increase of 17 fatalities, or 4 percent.

Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703 or on Twitter @thadmoore.


Home Equity to Consolidate Debts #home #equity #canada, #debt #consolidation #advice, #refinance


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Home Equity to Consolidate Debts – Refinance Your Home or Get a Second Mortgage

What does using home equity to consolidate your debts mean? Essentially it is using the equity in your home / refinancing your home to consolidate your debts into one payment in order to pay off your debts.

A “Home Equity Loan”, “Home Equity Line”,”refinancing your mortgage / re-mortgage” and getting a “second mortgage” are all different names for the same thing and are sometimes used as a debt consolidation option. These terms refer to the bank lending you money against the portion of your home that you own. So if the bank thinks that your home is worth $300,000 and your mortgage is for $250,000, then you own $50,000 of your house. This is called your “equity”.

Increasing your mortgage is something that the bank may let you do, by taking out a second mortgage to use up some of this equity to pay off your debts. (Check out our handy mortgage and debt consolidation calculator ). You would then have two mortgages: your first mortgage and a second mortgage which could be the debt consolidation home loan . If this is something you’re interested in doing, speak with your bank or credit union to find out how it works, to get information about the mortgage rules in Canada and if this option could work for you. Sometimes if you have bad credit. it might be difficult to get a debt consolidation loan. so using home equity could be another possibility. Check with a Credit Counsellor to make sure that you choose the right option.

Selling Your House to Pay Off Debt – Talk to a Credit Counsellor About Consolidating Debts

You could also sell your house to pay off debts. though this should be a last resort and pertain to your situation, e.g. down-sizing in retirement. There are things to know before using your home equity line. so to choose the best way / option that fits your situation, especially if you’re retired and your income has changed, talk to a trusted, accredited non-profit Credit Counsellor.

Interest Rates for Second Mortgages – Can Be Higher Than First, Talk to Your Bank About Using Your Home Equity

Sometimes you can get the same interest rate on your second mortgage as you got on your first mortgage, but this isn’t always possible (talk to your lender to find out more). If you do have to pay a higher interest rate on your second mortgage, you can set up the due date / term to correspond with the due date / term for your first mortgage. This will allow you to combine them at the bank’s best interest rate when they need to be renewed.

Re-mortgaging may also be an option that your lender can explain to you. It may allow you to keep a low interest rate, only have one mortgage payment and still give you funds to pay off other debts.

History of Mortgage Rates in Canada – Declining Since 1980’s

Ever since the early 1980’s mortgage rates have been declining in Canada. They peaked at over 20% at that time but are now typically offered in the 3% – 6% range. It is wise to remain mindful of the fact that we are currently living with historically low interest rates. This means that we cannot count on them to stay this low forever. The average five year mortgage rate over the past 60 years has been 8.95%. So if you are considering refinancing your home, make sure you can afford an “average” interest rate of 9% in the long term.

Finance Companies and Sub Prime Lenders or Loan Companies Offering Mortgages – Higher Interest Rates than Banks

Finance companies and sub-prime lenders also offer mortgages. Their interest rates will almost always be higher than the bank’s and can often range between 14% – 30%. These rates are a lot higher because these companies tend to lend money / cash to people in financial situations that involve more risk than banks usually want to take on.

High interest loans like these can be used as a tool to get you from point A to point B, but you should do your best to find a better arrangement as fast as possible. It is very hard to get ahead paying really high interest rates.

Advantages of Using a Second Mortgage to Consolidate Debt

  1. The interest rates are typically low
  2. Flexible payment arrangements. You can usually extend your amortization (the length of time required to pay back the loan) to create an ideal monthly payment

Disadvantages of a Second Mortgage

  1. You must have enough equity in your home as well as income to make both mortgage payments
  2. You may be charged a number of fees for the costs involved in setting up a second mortgage
  3. Banks often don’t like to do small second mortgages. $10,000 may be the minimum that they will consider

Contact Us for More Information About How to a Use Home Equity Line to Consolidate Debts

We can give you information on how to use home equity to consolidate debts / pay off debts. Contact us by phone at 1-888-527-8999, send us an email or chat with us online right now. One of our Credit Counsellors will be happy to offer you debt consolidation advice . Our appointments are free, confidential and informative. You may have other options that are better for your situation, so before you increase your mortgage, take out a second one (at a higher interest rate) or apply for a home equity loan. give us a call.


Hospice care can increase life expectancy #help #the #hospices #jobs

#hospice life expectancy

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Hospice care can increase life expectancy

by Emily Nelson
Apr 18, 2013

More than 44 percent of Americans with less than six months to live choose hospice care, and 97 percent of those people choose home hospice care, according to a recent study conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Hospice care is designed to focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than a cure, for dying patients. The proportion of dying patients who used hospice care rose from 21.6 percent in 2000 to 42.2 percent in 2009.

While most of us prefer to avoid the topic, how we choose to spend our final days could quite literally be a matter of life and death. Planning ahead can be crucial to making hospice care available as soon as someone needs it.

“There are studies to the effect that show if you are in hospice care your life expectancy is longer than if you are not in hospice care,” Chicago hospice nurse Steve Wren said.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a 2010 study on terminally ill lung cancer patients that showed those receiving palliative care had a better quality of life and lived an average of three months longer than those who did not seek palliative care.

Palliative care focuses on relieving a patient’s suffering in all disease stages, and it often goes hand in hand with hospice care. It includes a team of medical professionals addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns for patients suffering from a serious illness.

Terminal illness sometimes gives people the freedom to go off medications and remove some of the symptoms and side effects.

Wren said that, in many cases when patients are taken off medications they are on for conditions such as high cholesterol to osteoporosis, the patient improves. “You have a 90 year old who is taking a mass amount of medications, you go through that list and you say, do we really need to be worrying about osteoporosis with someone who has terminal colon cancer? Probably not.” Wren said.

Journey Care Hospice in Barrington is a nonprofit hospice care that provides inpatient 24-hour care. Communications Specialist Lisa Encarnacion said the decision for a patient to elect inpatient hospice care is “basically based on the doctor recommendation and around the clock care is required.”

Hospice is covered by insurance. The national hospice organization reports that the percentage of hospice patients covered by Medicare’s hospice benefit versus other payment sources was 84.1 percent in 2011.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that Medicare spending for hospice has increased from $2.9 billion in 2000 to $13 billion in 2010. Medicare costs associated with home care are significantly lower than inpatient hospice. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services published 2013 daily hospice payment rates of $153.65 for home care and $682.59 for inpatient care.

An independent study conducted by Duke University revealed that home hospice saves Medicare over $2,300 per patient on average.

A 2009 study by the Health Services Research and Development Service reported that the final 30 days of life accounted for 78 percent of a person’s lifetime healthcare costs. Those who had end-of-life discussions, including the decision to seek hospice care, consumed costs 35 percent lower than those who did not.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study that also concluded that 80 percent of those terminally ill would prefer to die at home. However, it is unclear whether home care has an impact on a patient’s longevity over inpatient hospice, according to the study.

A European study conducted by Rand comparing home hospice to inpatient hospice concluded that prognosis is not affected by place of care. However, Wren disagrees. “In my experience they do tend to live a little bit longer and a little bit more comfortably inpatient,” Wren said.

Whether or not those in the end stages of life choose to die at home or an inpatient setting, having the discussion can provide peace of mind to family members, Wren said. “I think you are going to see more people making good end of life choices and that they talk about what they want those choices to be,” he added.

©2001 – 2014 Medill Reports – Chicago, Northwestern University. A publication of the Medill School .





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Hospice care can increase life expectancy #portarlington #beach #motel

#hospice life expectancy

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Hospice care can increase life expectancy

by Emily Nelson
Apr 18, 2013

More than 44 percent of Americans with less than six months to live choose hospice care, and 97 percent of those people choose home hospice care, according to a recent study conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Hospice care is designed to focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than a cure, for dying patients. The proportion of dying patients who used hospice care rose from 21.6 percent in 2000 to 42.2 percent in 2009.

While most of us prefer to avoid the topic, how we choose to spend our final days could quite literally be a matter of life and death. Planning ahead can be crucial to making hospice care available as soon as someone needs it.

“There are studies to the effect that show if you are in hospice care your life expectancy is longer than if you are not in hospice care,” Chicago hospice nurse Steve Wren said.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a 2010 study on terminally ill lung cancer patients that showed those receiving palliative care had a better quality of life and lived an average of three months longer than those who did not seek palliative care.

Palliative care focuses on relieving a patient’s suffering in all disease stages, and it often goes hand in hand with hospice care. It includes a team of medical professionals addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns for patients suffering from a serious illness.

Terminal illness sometimes gives people the freedom to go off medications and remove some of the symptoms and side effects.

Wren said that, in many cases when patients are taken off medications they are on for conditions such as high cholesterol to osteoporosis, the patient improves. “You have a 90 year old who is taking a mass amount of medications, you go through that list and you say, do we really need to be worrying about osteoporosis with someone who has terminal colon cancer? Probably not.” Wren said.

Journey Care Hospice in Barrington is a nonprofit hospice care that provides inpatient 24-hour care. Communications Specialist Lisa Encarnacion said the decision for a patient to elect inpatient hospice care is “basically based on the doctor recommendation and around the clock care is required.”

Hospice is covered by insurance. The national hospice organization reports that the percentage of hospice patients covered by Medicare’s hospice benefit versus other payment sources was 84.1 percent in 2011.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that Medicare spending for hospice has increased from $2.9 billion in 2000 to $13 billion in 2010. Medicare costs associated with home care are significantly lower than inpatient hospice. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services published 2013 daily hospice payment rates of $153.65 for home care and $682.59 for inpatient care.

An independent study conducted by Duke University revealed that home hospice saves Medicare over $2,300 per patient on average.

A 2009 study by the Health Services Research and Development Service reported that the final 30 days of life accounted for 78 percent of a person’s lifetime healthcare costs. Those who had end-of-life discussions, including the decision to seek hospice care, consumed costs 35 percent lower than those who did not.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study that also concluded that 80 percent of those terminally ill would prefer to die at home. However, it is unclear whether home care has an impact on a patient’s longevity over inpatient hospice, according to the study.

A European study conducted by Rand comparing home hospice to inpatient hospice concluded that prognosis is not affected by place of care. However, Wren disagrees. “In my experience they do tend to live a little bit longer and a little bit more comfortably inpatient,” Wren said.

Whether or not those in the end stages of life choose to die at home or an inpatient setting, having the discussion can provide peace of mind to family members, Wren said. “I think you are going to see more people making good end of life choices and that they talk about what they want those choices to be,” he added.

©2001 – 2014 Medill Reports – Chicago, Northwestern University. A publication of the Medill School .





Hospice care can increase life expectancy #legian #beach #hotel

#hospice life expectancy

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Hospice care can increase life expectancy

by Emily Nelson
Apr 18, 2013

More than 44 percent of Americans with less than six months to live choose hospice care, and 97 percent of those people choose home hospice care, according to a recent study conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Hospice care is designed to focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than a cure, for dying patients. The proportion of dying patients who used hospice care rose from 21.6 percent in 2000 to 42.2 percent in 2009.

While most of us prefer to avoid the topic, how we choose to spend our final days could quite literally be a matter of life and death. Planning ahead can be crucial to making hospice care available as soon as someone needs it.

“There are studies to the effect that show if you are in hospice care your life expectancy is longer than if you are not in hospice care,” Chicago hospice nurse Steve Wren said.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a 2010 study on terminally ill lung cancer patients that showed those receiving palliative care had a better quality of life and lived an average of three months longer than those who did not seek palliative care.

Palliative care focuses on relieving a patient’s suffering in all disease stages, and it often goes hand in hand with hospice care. It includes a team of medical professionals addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns for patients suffering from a serious illness.

Terminal illness sometimes gives people the freedom to go off medications and remove some of the symptoms and side effects.

Wren said that, in many cases when patients are taken off medications they are on for conditions such as high cholesterol to osteoporosis, the patient improves. “You have a 90 year old who is taking a mass amount of medications, you go through that list and you say, do we really need to be worrying about osteoporosis with someone who has terminal colon cancer? Probably not.” Wren said.

Journey Care Hospice in Barrington is a nonprofit hospice care that provides inpatient 24-hour care. Communications Specialist Lisa Encarnacion said the decision for a patient to elect inpatient hospice care is “basically based on the doctor recommendation and around the clock care is required.”

Hospice is covered by insurance. The national hospice organization reports that the percentage of hospice patients covered by Medicare’s hospice benefit versus other payment sources was 84.1 percent in 2011.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that Medicare spending for hospice has increased from $2.9 billion in 2000 to $13 billion in 2010. Medicare costs associated with home care are significantly lower than inpatient hospice. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services published 2013 daily hospice payment rates of $153.65 for home care and $682.59 for inpatient care.

An independent study conducted by Duke University revealed that home hospice saves Medicare over $2,300 per patient on average.

A 2009 study by the Health Services Research and Development Service reported that the final 30 days of life accounted for 78 percent of a person’s lifetime healthcare costs. Those who had end-of-life discussions, including the decision to seek hospice care, consumed costs 35 percent lower than those who did not.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study that also concluded that 80 percent of those terminally ill would prefer to die at home. However, it is unclear whether home care has an impact on a patient’s longevity over inpatient hospice, according to the study.

A European study conducted by Rand comparing home hospice to inpatient hospice concluded that prognosis is not affected by place of care. However, Wren disagrees. “In my experience they do tend to live a little bit longer and a little bit more comfortably inpatient,” Wren said.

Whether or not those in the end stages of life choose to die at home or an inpatient setting, having the discussion can provide peace of mind to family members, Wren said. “I think you are going to see more people making good end of life choices and that they talk about what they want those choices to be,” he added.

©2001 – 2014 Medill Reports – Chicago, Northwestern University. A publication of the Medill School .